Garstang up to fourth

Michael Wellings on his way to a match-winning 56 for Garstang against BAe Preston.' 'Picture by Sir Robert Atkins
Michael Wellings on his way to a match-winning 56 for Garstang against BAe Preston.' 'Picture by Sir Robert Atkins

BAc/EE Preston149

Garstang153-5

Match Day Sponsor – Garstang Country Hotel and Golf Club

GARSTANG leapfrogged visitors BAc/EE Preston into fourth position, thanks to a devastating spell of quick bowling from Ian Walling, and Michael Wellings’ quick-fire 56 at The Riverside.

With rain looming, it seemed a strange decision from visiting captain Jamie Skeoch to bat first. Shortly before the 1.30pm scheduled start, the heavens did open, but the game only lost eight overs, meaning a 41-over game.

In helpful bowling conditions, Ian Walling and Mark Hitchen worked very well in tandem to produce what has to be the best opening spell of bowling from the deadly duo.

Still, Garstang were made to wait for the breakthrough as plenty of playing and missing occurred. Walling was too quick for Chris Greenall, (3) and Thomas Wilcock, (3) as both were comprehensively bowled, leaving BAc/EE 26-2. Walling then added a third when Alex Unsworths’ resistance was ended for 13.

Youngster Jonathon Hothersall, (3) was Walling’s 4th victim, albeit in fortunate circumstances.

Walling dropped short, and Hothersall duly dispatched the ball to the boundary with a fine pull shot. It was at this point, with everyone looking in admiration of the shot that Hothersall stepped on his stumps. Eagle-eyed Mark Walling spotted the error, and the batsman was on his way.

In need of a captain’s innings, Skeoch took the attack to Garstang with some positive strokes. However, Walling produced another beauty to take the edge and send Skeoch back having made 18 from just 15 balls.

With Hitchen, (7-0-16-0) completing his best spell of the season without reward, Jonny Wells was introduced into the attack and picked up the key wicket of Andy Hogarth, (3). Now at 64-6, the cat was well amongst the pigeons and Garstang sensed ending the innings swiftly.

However, BAc/EE still had able batsmen in the form of Michael Keane and John McKeever.

With the pitch drying out, and the new ball getting older, batting became easier and the visiting pair re built the innings.

With the pace taken off, spinners Jake Smith and Michael Walling slowed, as the innings was built for a big final push.

Keane, (25) was next to go, with Michael Walling taking a good catch off the bowling of Smith. The partnership was worth 62, and left the visitors at 126-7.

McKeever made 37 before becoming Smith’s 2nd victim, as he slapped a short ball straight to Alex Kershaw at cover, who took the catch at the fourth attempt with some fine juggling.

Daniel Edwards, (9) came in at 9, and did launch Smith for a big six, but his attempt to do the same again fell into the grateful hands of Wellings. James Gaskell, (1) was last man out when he was bowled by the retuning Ian Walling in the last over.

It left BAc/EE with a competitive total of 149 with Ian Walling claiming 6-44 and Smith 3-32. Despite no wickets, Michael Walling bowled his 7 overs for just 16 with Wells taking 1-24 from his 4 over spell.

The Garstang reply got off to a 100mph start with Wellings blasting the ball to the boundary on regular occasions, but he lost fellow opener Michael Walling, (5) in the meantime. Wellings seemed set on winning the game on his own as Garstang raced to 40 inside four overs.

Mark Walling hit two boundaries, before falling to Jamie Hogarth for eight as Chris Redman joined Wellings on his 1st team return. Wellings brought up 50 as Garstang made 74-2 from the opening nine overs.

Scoring though, became less fluent as BAc/EE turned to Edwards and his leg spin. He found great turn, and with Andy Hogarth bowling tight at the other end too, Garstang were forced to bide their time on the road to victory.

McKeever, (1-13) was introduced into the attack and immediately struck with Wellings departing for a well-made 56, leaving the home side 92-3.

Redman continued with Allan Cook, chipping away at the total. Edwards though, produced a “jaffa” to end Redman’s resistance as he departed for a determined 17.

Alex Kershaw was undone by Edwards’ spin too as Garstang slipped to 117-5.

Cook though, together with Ian Walling, finished the job in the 34th over with the latter hitting a mammoth six to win the game.

Cook finished with a very composed 36 not out while Walling hit 19 not out as Garstang achieved victory by five wickets.

For the visitors, Edwards picked up 2-42 from his 12.2 overs whilst Andy, (1-39) and Jamie Hogarth, (1-43) picked up the other wickets to fall.